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PARIS is like a lover you can never really know...

every time I left Paris, I felt my heart ripping out. I knew that it was a place I would never "own", only inhabit

PARIS is like a lover you can never really know...
always allusive, taking hold of you, with no concrete return on your passion, energy or investment.

I grew up in Seattle, went to college in Philly, and never wanted to live anywhere in the world expect in Paris, which is where I picked up and promptly disembarked to upon graduation, with only my portfolio and camera gear in hand. I wanted to work in the fashion industry...

I lived there, made friends, cooked meals, drank wine, danced late nights at the clubs (Sheherazade, Pigalle, La Palace, Les Bains) had lovers, and finally settled on an unlikely German whom I met at the Elle Studios, where we both worked as photo assistants.

We trekked to Berlin every summer, and tooled around in his little beat up VW across central Europe, hitting up all the former E.Bloc countries...Berlin was hugely attractive place, but every time I left Paris, from my Year Abroad studies in college to my Berlin summers, I felt my heart ripping out. I knew that it was a place I would never "own", only inhabit. It always belonged to a different kind of person, not to me. I saw my times there as this condensed whirl of folly, and that I did not achieve what I had meant to do there. That I had tried and failed, and that now that I was physically on my way "home" my time was up and it could never be redone...I would never have that same chance at Paris, to make something in my youth, again.

My best French pal Stephane used to say, "there is no one more Parisian than a foreigner," which held true to a degree, but never gave me the sense that I was at home....So the two songs that gave me the most solace at the time were, Josephine Baker's, "J'ai Deux Amours, Mon Pays et Paris (I've Two Lovers, my Country and Paris)" and Chet Baker's, "Every Time We Say Goodbye I Die a Little..."

The first time I left as an 20-year-old, I'd dropped out of my program in film and critical studies at the Centre Odeon after 7 months...and was on a bus ride to Spain to have an adventure with my cousin.
The tears came uncontrollably as we crossed over the Peripherique and into the suburbs, and I watched all that was familiar become distant, and eventually turn into lush, bland countryside.
Here is an image of me from a train, on the tracks at Gare de L'est, taken by my former boyfriend, Tobias, as I departed Paris for the last time, at 24, only to return, again and again as it turned out, as a tourist from America, and a different, grown person. What I didn't know then was that I needed that time to become the person I would eventually be, a photographer of architecture, an documentarist of the built environment, a romantic of all things built and unbuilt, and a sentimentalist. The experience of leaving was the necessary right of passage, the break with my student years and segue to my eventual career.


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